NH GYMNASTICS ASSOCIATION LAUNCHES PUBLIC SERVICE CAMPAIGN TORAISE AWARNESS OF COLORECTAL CANCERCAMPAIGN CELEBRATES CLAIRE’S STORY
Stratham, NH — April 1, 2013, The New Hampshire State Board of Gymnastics, adivision of USA Gymnastics (NH-USAG) Region 6, recently launched a public servicecampaign to raise awareness and encourage people to get screened for Colorectal(Colon) Cancer – the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in America.Region 6 includes USAG delegates from New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut,Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and Maine. Annually, each state designates aspecific cancer to honor. NH-USAG Board Chair Haven Milton and Vice Chair Jennifer Pelland went to work and polled gymnastics organizations throughout New Hampshire todetermine which cancer to support. The selection came as a result of learning aboutClaire Ellis, the mother of a gymnast from Gymnastics at Brentwood Commons, wasdiagnosed with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer. “It was merely a coincidence that we selectedcolon cancer and March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month,” said Pelland.“We decided to support this specific disease because it is hitting so close to homeaffecting one of our own gymnastics families.”Stratham resident Claire Ellis, mother of four, was diagnosed in January 2012 with stagethree Colon Cancer. At first, doctors thought it was a urinary tract infection and treatedas such. After an initial surgery to treat the colon, the physicians discovered that thecancer had metastasized and more scans revealed a second tumor which was removedthis past October. During a follow up scan in December, doctors found more tumors inClaire’s stomach cavities. She is currently undergoing chemo treatments that couldcontinue for up to three years.“The community has been a tremendous help providing food, transportation, housecleaning, yard work you name it, we are so grateful,” said Claire. “We are glad NH-USAG is helping to bring to light to this cancer that is overlooked often because it isthought to be of older patients and not healthy young women,” she added.Colon cancer affects men and women of all racial and ethnic groups, and is most oftenfound in people 50 years or older. It is the third most common cancer in the UnitedStates, behind only lung and prostate cancers in men and lung and breast cancers inwomen. Misdiagnoses like Claire’s are becoming more common as a disease historicallyassociated with people older than 50 is increasingly affecting a younger population.